Sunday, January 29, 2012

Friday Night Menu, Mustard Rubbed Pork with Blackberry-mustard Sauce, January 27, 2012

I was watching "Unique Eats", the Maine episode on the cooking channel, they featured a restaurant that I have been wanting to go to called Fore Street.  One weekend maybe 5 years ago we went to Maine and we happened to stumble upon this restaurant and silly us, tried to walk in and get a table for dinner without a reservation.  It was completely booked and even the bar was full so that was out too.  I see this restaurant once in a while in a magazine or like the Unique Eats show, talking about how amazing this place is.  They showed a dish that looked so good it became the appetizer for tonight's dinner.  The dessert was just a picture I saw on the back cover of a magazine and I had to figure that one out.  The other dishes just fell into place...

Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese Mousse

The show (mentioned above) gives a quick description of how they make this.  The thing they said was that the chef uses a certain kind of tomato that's sweet and meaty and it's only available certain times a year.  I thought the tomato they used looks like Campari tomatoes so I just used some of those.  I drizzled some Sherry vinegar and olive oil into the bottom of an oven safe skillet; about 2-3 Tbsp of each; sprinkle some summer savory in the mix; then cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and excess liquid and place the tomatoes on the vinegar and oil skin side down; place a round of puff pastry just the same size as the inside of the pan over the tomatoes; place the pan into a 400 degree oven until the puff pastry puffs and browns slightly; remove the tomato tart from the pan by flipping it out onto a serving dish so the puff pastry in on the bottom and the tomatoes on top; top with a big scoop of goat cheese mousse (recipe below).

I made the goat cheese "mousse" by bringing about 3-4 oz of goat cheese to room temperature; use a hand held mixer to soften the goat cheese further and add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the cheese; in a separate bowl I beat about 1/4 cup heavy cream and whipped it then folded it into the creamy goat cheese; fold in a pinch of salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme.  I wanted the texture to be light an fluffy as it looked on the show so that's why I folded the cream in like that. 

This was very good with the vinegar and herbs and the goat cheese mousse but I might have left the whole thing in the oven another 5 minutes after it started to brown because the dough on the inside (near tomatoes) was almost under done.

Mustard Rubbed Pork with Blackberry-Mustard Sauce

I was flipping though some pictures in my Martha Stewart Original Classics cookbook, and this caught my eye.  Here it is.  It was so good with the blackberries.  Instead of the 2 Tbsp of spice mixture that's rubbed onto the pork I would suggest doing more like 1 1/2 tablespoons.  It was a little too much.

Butternut Squash Palpettone

I happened to catch this on Molto Mario one day and it looked good so I had this idea sitting around until it was a good time to make it, and I thought this was the time.  Here it is.  We loved the idea of this and we thought you can do variations of this with maybe more sweet as a dessert maybe with an orange syrup over top or more savory with maybe some texture from one of my favorite things, almond flour.  It's a smooth texture and easy to make.

Broccoli Rabe

I simply blanched the Rabe in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain; saute in olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

Apple Caramel Pie with Cornmeal Crust and Crumb Topping A' La Mode

This was, as I said above, a picture I saw on the back cover of a magazine.  I love the idea of a traditional apple pie with a crumb topping instead of a top crust and caramel drizzled over the top after baking.  The picture looked like it had a different crust and to me it looked like cornmeal (who knows, but that's what I did).  Since I had Martha's book out I flipped through it for a cornmeal crust and found this one.  I peeled and sliced Braeburn apples ( I used 3 apples but I made just 2 small portions in little baking dishes I have) tossed the apple slices with about 1/8 cup of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste with a pinch of salt.  To make the crumble topping I combined 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/8 cup brown sugar, pinch of cinnamon and salt, then with about 2-3 Tbsp of softened butter I smooched it all together to create clumps or crumbs. 

To bring it all together I lined the pie dishes with about 1/4 thickness of the pastry, pile in the apples as high as you can without them spilling out ( because they will shrink down), pile the crumb mixture over the apples; place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and then bake (with a sheet pan under the dishes in case it leaks out) in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until the apples are soft and the juices are bubbling.  I let it cool and topped with homemade caramel sauce; serve with vanilla ice cream on top, yummm!

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